Sussex Folk

The Folk Song Revival in Sussex by Clive Bennett

Country Books - 14.95

"Oh no!  Not another book looking at folk song clubs and restricted to one county!"  Cover pictureI have to admit that's what went through my mind when I saw this book.  But how wrong I was....

Not only is this book a good read, it is historically accurate and has social commitment.  If you - like me - happened to be around during the period the book covers, you may have experienced the huge enjoyment I did when recalling the singers and musicians mentioned in these 198 pages.  There are around 200 photographs - some dating back over 40 years - which adds to the interest.

The author of this book - Clive Bennett - must have spent a great deal of time over the past 40 years visiting and photographing the Clubs and Festivals in Sussex, it looks like a fall time job.  However this wonderful book proves that Clive's time was well spent doing his research.

The book is well planned and includes sections on:

There are two sections I think are most important dealing with Individuals.  One looks at the organisers of clubs and festivals and the other, which I found fascinating, deals with the traditional singers of Sussex.  This section brought to mind many happy memories of people I've shared a beer and a song with on many occasions.

The phenomenon known as the Folk Song Revival in Sussex is fascinating - it started officially in 1961 with the formation of the Brighton Ballads and Blues Club.  From this club a number of other clubs appeared in Brighton, dealing with Traditional Folk, Gospel and Country - a good all-round healthy participation of all aspects of folk music.  Interesting that the early clubs started in coffee bars around the time the same thing was happening in America.

Like missionaries, they went forth from the Brighton Ballads & Blues Club, and started folk song and music clubs outside Brighton, first in Worthing then into Shoreham, Eastbourne, Lewes and Isfield and on and on.  A great way to spread the word.

If you are a singer or a musician or have any interest in folk song this book will be of interest to you and I assure you will not regret getting a copy.

Tony Foxworthy - 28.3.03

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